New job! Systems Engineer at Exclusive Networks (BigTec)

So I have been on a job hunt for some time now, and I’m quite picky on what job to take because of a lot personal stuff happening which has put alot of strain on me, and that moving two hours away from Oslo to the middle of nowhere in Norway makes thing much more difficult to do from a job perspective.

Even thou, I have now started at Exclusive Networks (BigTec) as a System Engineer..

So what will I be doing there? (Firstly BigTec which is the area I will be focusing on) is a part of Exclusive Networks which is a value add distributor focusing on datacenter change.

Well from a techincal perspective I will be focusing on the different vendors which are part of the BigTec portfolio. Such as Nutanix, vArmour, VMTurbo, SilverPeak and Arista.


So this is not my regular milk and butter… Since I have been focusing on Microsoft related technology for like forever, but for my part It will be a good thing to expand my horizon to new products and other aspects of IT, (and this is most likely going to affect my blogpost forward as well, you have been warned!) and moving more towards pure datacenter releated technologies and security as well.

If you want to know more about what we are doing, head on over to our website

Azure Site Recovery Preview setup for Vmware

So a couple of days ago, Microsoft announced the preview for site recovery for physical and Vmware servers. Luckily enough I was able to get access to the preview pretty early. Now for those who don’t know the site recovery feature is built upon the InMage Scout suite that Microsoft purchased a while back. About 6 months back, Microsoft annouced the Migration Accelerator suite which was the first Microsoft branding of InMage but now they have built it into the Microsoft Azure portal, but the architecture is still the same. So this blog will explain how the the different components operate and how it works and how to set it up.

Now there are three different components for a on-premise to Azure replication of virtual machines. There is the

* Configuration Server (Which is this case is Azure VM which is used for centralized management)

* Master Target (User as a repository and for retention, recives the replicated data)

* Process Server (This is the on-premise server which actually does the data moving. It caches data, compresses and encrypts it using a passphrase we create and moves the data to the master target which in turn moves it to Azure.

Now when connecting this to a on-premise site the Process Server will push install the InMage agent on every virtual  machines that it want to protect. The InMage agent will then do a VSS snapshot and move the data to the Process Server which will in turn replicate the data to the master target.

So when you get access to the preview, create a new site recovery vault


In the dashboard you now have the option to choose between On-premise site with Vmware and Physical computer to Azure


First we have to deploy the configuration server which the managment plane in Azure. So if we click Deploy Configuration Server this wizard will appear which has a custom image which is uses to deploy a Configuration Server


This will automatically create an A3 instance, running a custom image (note it might take some time before in appers in the virtual machine pane in Azure)  You can look in the jobs pane of the recovery vault what the status is


When it is done you can go into the virtual machine pane and connect to the Configuration Manager server using RDP. When in the virtual machine run the setup which is located on the desktop


When setting up the Confguration Manager component it requires the vault registration key (Which is downloadable from the Site Recovery dashboard)


Note when the configuration manager server component is finished innstalling it wil present you with a passphrase. COPY IT!! Since you will use it to connect the other components.


Now when this is done the server should appear in the Site Recovery under servers as a configuration manager server


Next we need to deploy a master target server. This will also deploy in Azure (and will be a A4 machine with a lot of disk capaticy


(The virtual machine will have an R: drive where it stores retention data) it is about 1TB large.

The same goes here, it will generate a virtual machine which will eventually appear in the virtual machine pane in Azure, when it is done connect to it using RDP, it will start a presetup which will generate a certificate which allows for the Process serer to connect to it using HTTPS


Then when running the wizard it will ask for the IP-address (internal on the same vNet) for the configuration manager server and the passphrase. In my case I had the configuration manager server on and the master server on After the master server is finished deployed take note of the VIP and the endpoints which are attached to it.


Now that we are done with the Azure parts of it we need to install a process server. Download the bits from the azure dashboard and install it on a Windows Server (which has access to vCenter)


Enter the VIP of the Cloud service and don’t change the port. Also we need to enter the passphrase which was generated on the Configuration Manager server.

Now after the installastion is complete it will ask you to download the Vmware CLI binares from Vmware


Now this is for 5.1 (but I tested it against a vSphere 5.5 vcenter and it worked fine) the only pieces it uses the CLI binaries for are to discover virtual machines on vCenter. Rest of the job is using agents on the virtual machines.

Now that we are done with the seperate components they should appear in the Azure portal. Go into the recovery vault, servers –> Configuration manager server and click on it and properties.


Now we should see that the different servers are working. image

Next we need to add a vCenter server from the server dashboard.


Add the credentials and IP-adress and choose what Process Server is to be used to connect to the on-premise vCenter server.

After that is done and the vCenter appears under servers and connected you can create a protection group (and then we add virtual machines to it)



Specify the thresholds and retention time for the virtual machines that are going to be in the protection group.


Next we we need to add virtual machines to the group


Then choose from vCenter what virtual machines to want to protect


Then you need to specify which resources are going to be used to repllicate the target VM to Azure


And of course administrator credentials to remote push the InMage mobility agent to the VM


After that the replication will begin



And you can see that on the virtual machine that the InMage agent is being installed.


And note that the replication might take some time depending on the type of bandwidth available.

General purpose Windows Storage spaces server

So after someones request I decided to write a blogpost about thisSmilefjes  We needed a new storage server in our lab enviroment. Now we could have bought a all purpose SAN or NAS, but we decided to use regular Windows Server features with Storage Spaces, why? Because we needed something that supported our protocol needs (iSCSI, SMB3 and NFS 4) and Microsoft is putting alot of effort into Storage spaces and with the features that are coming in vNext it becomes even more awesome!

So we specced a Dell R730 with alot of SAS disks and setup storage spaces with mirroring/striping so we had 4 disk for each pool and 10 GB NIC for each resource.

So after we setup each storage pool, we setup a virtual disk. One intended for iSCSI (Vmware) and the other Intended for NFS (XenServer) lastly we had one two-disk mirror which was setup for (SMB 3.0) so since this is a lab enviroment it was mainly for setting up virtual machines.

Everything works like a charm, one part that was a bit cumbersome was the NFS setup for XenServer it requires access by UID/GUID


The performance is what you would expect from two-way striping set on SAS 10k drives. (column size set to 2 and interleave is 64kb)


Since we don’t have any SSD disks in our setup we don’t get the benefit of tiering and therefore have a higher latency since we don’t have a storage controller cache and so on.

Now for Vmware we just setup PernixData FVP infront of our virtual machines running on ESX, that gives us the performance benefit but still gives ut the storage spaces that the SAS drivers provide.

Now that’s a hybrid approach Smilefjes

Upcoming events and stuff

There’s alot happening lately and therefore there has been a bit quiet here on this blog. But to give a quick update on what’s happening!

In february I just recently got confirmation that I am presenting two session at NIC conference (Which is the largest IT event for IT-pros in scandinavia) ( Here I will be presenting 2 (maybe 3) sessions.

* Setting up and deploying Microsoft Azure RemoteApp
* Delivering high-end graphics using Citrix, Microsoft and VMware

One session will be primarly focused on Microsoft Azure RemoteApp where I will be showing how to setup RemoteApp in both Cloud and Hybrid and talk a little bit about what kind of use cases it has. The second session will focus on delivering high-end graphics and 3d applications using RemoteFX (using vNext Windows Server), HDX and PCoIP and talk and demo abit about how it works, pros and cons, VDI or RDS and endpoints so my main objective is to talk about how to deliver applications and desktops from cloud and on-premise…

And on the other end, I have just signed a contract with Packt Publishing to write another book on Netscaler, “Mastering Netscaler VPX” which will be kind of a follow up of my existing book

Which will focus more in depth of the different subjects and focused on 10.5 features as well.

I am also involved with a community project I started, which is a free eBook about Microsoft Azure IaaS where I have some very skilled norwegians with me to write this subject. Takes some time since Microsoft is always adding new content there which needs to be added to the eBook as well.

So alot is happening! more blogsposts coming around Azure and Cloudbridge.

Vmware products dictionary

So the last couple of days have all been about VMworld, with the keynotes being fullpacked regarding to updates and new stuff that are coming. The list is long with updates and rebranding of different products and new suites that are available. A funny story thou is that VMware releasted today a Workspace Suite (Which looks exactly like the suite that Citrix is selling, “the market guys should really learn how to use Google”)

The one thing that I find annoying with Vmware is the ability to actually describe what a product does. On their website its not common to find a good describtion of their long list of products, so I decided to make one for you instead, hopefully this comes handy for some Smilefjes

and note this is super short.

vSphere: This is VMware’s hypervisor

vCenter: This is their management software to manage vSphere servers.

vCenter Site Recovery Manager: Replication and recovery/failover to S2S

vCenter Orchestrator: Workflow and process automation software.

vCenter Log Insight: Log analysis tool

vCenter Operations Manager: Monitoring software against the virtual layer and hardware

vCenter Hyperic: Agent based monitoring software against operatingsystem and application and services.

vCenter Converter: P2V utility

vCenter Configuration Manager: Configuration and Compliance management.

NSX: Network virtualization and security platform.

vSphere Data Protection Manager: Backup software

vCloud Air:  A Hybrid Cloud solution, allows customers to extend their datacenter to VMware’s datacenters.

vCloud Director: A private cloud IaaS solution

vCloud Connector: Connects private cloud and the public cloud within a single management

vCloud Automation Center: Self-service catalog with the ability to create service templates

VSAN: Virtualised Software-defined Storage

VVOL: The ability to move much of the managmeent capabilities frmo the SAN to the VM level

vRealize Air Automation: The ability to provision and manage infrastructure and services across public/private clouds

Horizon: End user platform to deliver VDI/RDS solutions.

Now VMware has also created some new bundles.

Workspace Suite: Contains Horizon, AirWatch and WorkSpace Portal

EVO RAIL:  A Prebuilt architecture which is going to be prebundled from specific OEM vendors. Which contains vSphere, vCenter, VSAN, Log insight.

Veeam Management pack for Hyper-V and Vmware walktrough

Yesterday, Veeam released their new management pack which for the first time includes support for both Vmware and Hyper-V. Now I have gotten a lot of questions regarding (Why have Hyper-V monitoring if Microsoft has it ?) well Veeam’s pack has alot more features included, such as capacity planning, heat maps and so on.

The management pack can be downloaded as an free trial from veeam’s website here –>

Now as for the architecture of the functionality here it’s quite simple


First of there are two components.

* Veeam Virtualization Extesions (Service and UI) it manages connections to VMware systems and the Veeam Collector(s), controling licensing, load balancing, and high availability

* Veeam Collector component gathers data from VMware and injects its information into the Ops Agent.

It is possible to install all of these components on the management server itself. You can also install the collector service on other servers which have the Opsmgr agent installed. The virtualization extension service must be installed on the management server.

In my case I wanted to install this on the mangement server itself, since I have a small enviroment. Before I started the installation I needed to make sure that the management server was operating in proxy mode.


Next I started the installation on the management server. Now as with all of Veeams setup it can automatically configure all prerequisites and is pretty straight forward. (Note it will automatically import all required management packs into SCOM1

If you have a large enviroment it is recommended to split ut collectors into different hosts and create a resource pool (There is an online calculator which can help you find out how many collectors you need)

You can also define if collector roles should be automatically deployed


After the installation is complete (using the default ports) you will find the extensions shortcut on the desktop


By default this opens a website on the localhost (using port 4430) from here we need to enter the connection information to Vmware (Hyper-V hosts are discovered automatically when they have the agent installed) Same with Veeam Backup servers as well.


After you have entered the connection info you will also get a header saying the recommended number of collector hosts.


After this is finished setup you can open the OpsMgr console. From here there is one final task that is needed. Which is to Configure the Health Service, this can be dome from tasks under _All_active_Alerts under VMware monitoring pane.


After this is done you need to expect atleast 15 min before data is populated into your OpsMgr servers, depending on the load. You can also view the events logs on the Opsmgr servers to see that data is correctly imported.


and after a while, voila!

I can for instance view info about storage usage



Vm information


Now I could show grafs and statistics all day but one of the cool stuff in this release, is the cloud capacity planning reports.


They allow it to see for instance how many virtual machines I would need in Azure (and what type) to move them there.


Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 2.0

So this is such a great update I have to blog about it, I have been in many projects involving migrating from VMware to Hyper-V and there of course many options to choose from there. Alas Microsoft had its own Virtual Machine Converter but didn’t have support for the latest version.

Microsoft today released a new version of Virtual MAchine Converter which contains the following updates:

With the release today, you will be able to access many updated features including:

  • Added support for vCenter & ESX(i) 5.5
  • VMware virtual hardware version 4 – 10 support
  • Linux Guest OS migration support including CentOS, Debian, Oracle, Red Hat Enterprise, SuSE enterprise and Ubuntu.

We have also added two great new features:

  • On-Premises VM to Azure VM conversion: You can now migrate your VMware virtual machines straight to Azure. Ease your migration process and take advantage of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure with a simple wizard driven experience.
  • PowerShell interface for scripting and automation support: Automate your migration via workflow tools including System Center Orchestrator and more. Hook MVMC 2.0 into greater processes including candidate identification and migration activities.


So alot of great new features which should make it even easier to convert Virtual Machines. Also another important factor here is this.

At this time, we are also announcing the expected availability of MVMC 3.0 in fall of 2014. In that release we will be providing physical to virtual (P2V) machine conversion for supported versions of Windows.

Since Microsoft removed this option from SCVMM in R2 release its great that it is coming back. You can download the tool from here –>